Capitals take a hit as Lacey steps out
Alison Lacey says a lack of passion and motivation were the main reasons behind her decision to walk away from her basketball career despite being just 23 years old.
Lacey confirmed yesterday she would not be suiting up for the Canberra Capitals for the WNBL season which beings on October 8.
But the Capitals have already moved to fill the gap left by the versatile guard by signing Molly Lewis on a one-year deal.
Lacey's departure is a major blow to Canberra as it aims for a record eighth championship.
Despite taking time to find her feet in her first WNBL campaign last season, Lacey proved a valuable contributor.
However, she said her passion had waned and basketball had become more like work than a sport.
''I wasn't as passionate as I thought I should be to be a professional athlete,'' Lacey said.
''I don't want to waste my time, my teammates or my coach's time if it's not my main priority.
''I thought I was ready to play, I was excited about it but then my feelings came through and I wasn't willing to give 100per cent and that's not fair to my teammates and I don't want to take that opportunity away from someone who really wants it.''
The Capitals will begin pre-season training next week when coach Carrie Graf completes her duties with the Australian Opals.
There are still spots to fill on the Capital's roster and it is understood former Sydney Uni Flame Mikaela Dombkins has a three-week trial to convince the coaches to give her a full-time contract.
Lacey spent five years experiencing an intense basketball regimen.
The Canberra junior was a star at Iowa State college in the United States and after graduating was taken at pick No10 in the WNBA draft by the Seattle Storm.
She sat on the bench as the Storm won the championship before she returned to join the Capitals.
Lacey had accepted an offer to re-sign. But the decision didn't sit well and she told the Capitals she would not be part of their 2011-12 season.
''Since I was 12 basketball has been the most important thing in my life, it was hard to make the decision, but I'm happy and comfortable with it now,'' Lacey said.
''I'm not saying [the passion] will never come back, but basketball has been my life for five years. I went into the professional arena and I still enjoyed it, but it wasn't like it was at college. I didn't want to look back and say 'what if I didn't pursue playing professionally?'. But I think it's just time to step back and focus on other parts of my life now.''
Smith will replace Lacey. The former Sydney Uni Flames player has struggled with injury in the past, but the Capitals are confident she will be a capable recruit.
The Capitals lost last season's WNBL grand final to the Bulleen Boomers and will seek revenge without Suzy Batkovic and Lacey.
Canberra juniors Kathryn Rendell and Abbey Davis will have a chance to impress Graf at pre-season training and fight for a fringe roster spot.
September 17: v Sydney Uni Flames in Sydney
September 24 and 27: v Australian Institute of Sport at AIS Training Hall